The Škocjan Caves Regional Park will be marking two important anniversaries this year – the 20th anniversary of its establishment and the 30th anniversary of the caves’ listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Park director Stojan Ščuka said that park authorities were not aiming for a massive increase in visitors but the caves did attract increasingly many tourists each year.
The massive underground system of caves saw a record number of visitors in 2015. It was visited by nearly 131,960 people, of whom 107,460 came from abroad, mostly from Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic. In an effort to prevent the influx in visitors from damaging the caves’ delicate ecosystem, the park decided to introduce restrictions, under which groups will only be allowed in after announcing their visit in advance, public broadcaster RTV Slovenija has said.
A number of events will be held throughout the year to mark the anniversaries, culminating in a special ceremony on 25 November, almost 30 years to the day when the caves were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986.
As part of the celebrations, several photo exhibitions are to take place and a new book on the Škocjan Caves will be published.
The park will moreover organise several hiking trips and launch an online UNESCO library with works on the Škocjan Caves Regional park and the Karst Biosphere Reserve.
A museum collection on the history of the caves‘ exploration is on display at the new Škocjan Caves information centre, which was established in May last year.
The regional park has recently been given TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for the second time. The certificate is awarded to properties that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel website.